The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has accomplished what 108 Japanese aircraft, attacking Midway on June 4, 1942, were unable to do. On June 5, 2017, during a tour of Eastern Island, I no longer recognized the airstrip on Eastern Island. This airstrip, symbolic of the Battle of Midway at sea, is dedicated to Major Lofton R. Henderson, USMC, squadron leader of VMSB-241's 16 SBSs, who lost his life while attacking the Japenese carrier Hiryu. Only eight of the sixteen SBDs returned to Midway. The monument dedicated by the IMMF to Henderson in 1999, initially placed on the airstrip, now stands virtually alone in the middle of the field that has been covered with vegetation, soil and coral --- only about 10% of it is still visible. This irreverence to the man that heroically died in defense of his country should be an affront to all fair-minded individuals.
On Sand Island, the street signs representative of individuals significant in naval history are no longer present. The NAF Terminal Building built in 1943 is associated with broad patterns of navy base development in World War II and development of the airfield on Sand Island. It is in the process of deteriorating beyond repair and will be torn down without any consultation with the IMMF. Midway Atoll has lost almost all of its historic heritage and clearly now represents a Wildlife Refuge, with little original evidence of the historic battle that took place there. Even if that evidence remained, public visitation is prohibited unless one is volunteering in a wildlife refuge program.
Despite the physical removals of historic structures, it was still seen fit to hold the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway Ceremony at the site where the IMMF dedicated and erected the Battle of Midway Memorial Monuments in 1995. The ceremony was broadcast on satellite television to naval facilities around the world. Rear Admiral Sam Cox, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Director of Naval History and Heritage Command, represented the U.S. Navy at the ceremony.
Your President gave the keynote speech at the after-dinner ceremony with remarks that describe how the victory at Midway played a major role in the outcome of the war in Europe. The Foundation's sterling silver Battle of Midway Memorial Commemorative Coin was presented to Colonel John G. Miniclier, USMC and Sgt. First Class Edgar R. Fox, USMC, veterans of the Battle of Midway. Additional Commemorative Coins were given to two family members of veterans of the Battle of Midway.
This year the Sarasota Memorial Day Parade, held on May 29, which was dedicated to the Battle of Midway. Over 10,000 people attended the parade along Main Street in Sarasota. The event was covered by the local ABC affiliate and by the print media. Pearl harbor survivor, Captain Robert ONeil, USN, was in attendance at the ceremony. He was presented with the sterling silver Battle of Midway National Memorial Coin. The keynote address given by your President was well received. Thanks go to Dan Kennedy, Parade Marshall, for choosing the Battle of Midway as the parade's theme, and for inviting our participation. It was an opportunity to bring awareness to the Battle of Midway and it's importance to World War II.
The IMMF's draft discussion bill in in the last stages of review by legislative legal counsel. It is our belief that this bill offers the best solution to the problems plaguing the USFWS' management of the Midway Atoll. The Foundation looks forward to the final draft as it will provide us with the means to gain support for the passage of the bill in Congress.
Major Glenn Miller was a legendary band leader of the 1930s and 1940's. His theme song "Moonlight Serenade" is well known to those of his era and beyond. Miller was a member of the U.S. Army Air Force and had been tasked with entertaining the troops in England in the summer of 1944. On December 15, 1944, while en route from Twinwood Farm in England to Paris, his plane (UC-64 Norseman) disappeared over the English Channel. The weather was extremely foggs and he was never seen or heard from again. It has been assumed that his plane went down in the channel although this has never been conclusively proven.
I have always had an appreciation for Glenn Miller's music and his talent, and also have a keen interest in the circumstances of his disappearance. To that end the IMMF contacted Jamed Delgado, form Director of NOAA's Maritime Heritage Program, and now Senior Vice President of Search, Inc., with a proposal to discover the remnants of the famed band-leader's aircraft. Included in this project isDennis M. Spragg (member of the Board of Trustees of the Glenn Miller Archives in Colorado and author of Glenn Miller, Declassified which will be published in September 2017) and Michael Arbuthnot, a Search, Inc. colleague of James Delgado. The purpose of this initial inquiry is to determine the cost of such a mission. Glenn Miller is presently survived by only one living relative, his adopted son --- Steve Miller.
*** The e-mail address to the IMMF has changed to firstname.lastname@example.org. ***
*** A flyer for the book Victory at Midway: The Battle That Changed the Course of World War II to be published by McFarland & Company Inc., Publishers in October 2017 is provided on the last page of this newsletter. ***
Chris and I wish all our members a safe and Happy Summer!!